Auditioning for the Moulin Rouge

December 12, 2019

Today’s blog comes to us from Olivia Modarelli, a gap year student studying in Paris, France for the fall semester.

I was filled with extreme emotion when I set eyes on the crimson windmill atop the Moulin Rouge, for I was about to audition for the world famous cabaret! Dreaming about this audition for years but feeling like it would stop at that — a dream — I was quite overwhelmed and proud upon realizing that I had, in fact, made it there. 

Eager to make a good impression and nervous I might get lost, I arrived 90 minutes early. I was told to come back at the exact start time, something I was not used to coming from the U.S., where candidates always seemed to be lined up at auditions hours beforehand. With time to kill, I decided to take a seat at the nearest Starbucks. Sitting with a clear view of the windmill and a frappuccino in hand, I noticed a couple of girls sitting next to me that looked like they might be auditioning as well. My inference was correct! So, 90 minutes later, I walked into the audition with some newfound friends. 

All the candidates were led into a spacious room with a huge mirror. Everyone changed into their dance clothes and found a place to stretch and warm up on the floor. We soon began, and I was both surprised and relieved to realize that the audition would be held in English. There were girls and guys from all across Europe at the audition, with the exception of a few Australians and myself. I learned this during the part of the audition where we individually told the judges our name and where we are from before sliding into a split. This part was nerve wracking for me as I had never done a split in heels before. But I soon learned that there was nothing to be nervous about — I did it!

Following three dance combinations of different styles — the first being ballroom-inspired, the second, jazz-inspired, and the third, ballet-inspired — we learned what the Moulin Rouge is arguably the most famous for: the Can-can. Kicking and cartwheeling across the floor was one of the most surreal experiences of the day. I felt so proud in that moment, and like I’d stumbled upon some secret, magical world! I was performing the same dance that the Moulin Rouge dancers had been for 130 years! 

In all, the day was magical. And the most magical part about it for me was the fact that I put myself out there and pushed through any fear I felt beforehand. This is only one audition of many I have experienced during my time in Paris, and I hope to keep pushing myself and having these wonderful experiences!

From meeting a former Radio City Rockette to improv-ing for over a minute on stage by myself, each audition has taught me many things, and for that I am so grateful!

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